The FrontMatters blog was originally created as a chronicle of BookGlutton development. It evolved into a place where thoughtful, creative people can further our insight into the future of Web publishing, and the future of publishing in general.

Both Travis Alber and Aaron Miller post here. You’ll find their companies and bios below.

ReadSocial API Logo
ReadSocial API
ReadSocial is a service that allows other reading systems: webpages, ebook apps, online learning communities, to add a social layer on top of their content. Users can select text and attach a comment to it, so that friends can reply when they read past that paragraph. ReadSocial’s third-party solution allows people to create reading groups across systems (if a publisher’s content is on both an iPad and a website people can still create a virtual group and read together). It also lets publishers focus on what they do best: writing content. Content providers just need to sign up for a tier, get a few lines of code, and drop it into their site (or app). Launching in Fall 2011, ReadSocial API information can be found here readsocialAPI.com.

BookGlutton logo
BookGlutton
BookGlutton is a social reading platform and community. It allows users to create a virtual book club, read a book in a browser (at BookGlutton.com), and then attach comments to any paragraph or chat inside any chapter. BookGlutton is based on open standards and free public domain content, with additional features like an on-demand bookstore, a widget, private EPUB uploads and shares, and Facebook integration. Read and discuss at BookGlutton.com.

Readum Logo
ReadUm
Readum is a browser extension that lets people annotate Google Books and share those results with Facebook Groups. Users just install the extension, visit Google books, select a paragraph, and push it to their group page (public, private, group or wall). We learned some interesting things about both platforms working on this one – paid Google books have much better formatting, Facebook is doing a lot of indexing of books and book content behind the scenes, and it’s possible to actually read Google’s books inside the Facebook platform. Give it a try at Readum.com.

EPUB Logo (designed by Travis Alber)
Epub Converter
Since we convert EPUB on the fly when we’re serving up content for BookGlutton, we need to have an internal converter to convert EPUBS. So we thought we’d open it up to the masses. If you can make an html file to the specs provided, you can convert and download a valid EPUB. Since this service usually costs a few hundred bucks…and other tools tend to spit out invalid EPUBs, we hope smaller publishers will be able to get some use out of it. BookGlutton EPUB Converter.

iBooks Clean Theme
Strip out the faux page borders from iBooks on the iPad. Then add your own illuminated-page styles. We were experimenting with what we could do with ebooks and the system Apple offers you to read them in. Get the code and psd templates on GitHub. https://github.com/Vaporbook/iBooks-Theme-Clean-Up.

Travis Alber and Aaron Miller

Travis Alber
Travis is co-founder and President of ReadSocial. Previously she founded BookGlutton.com, a destination site that offers in-chapter chat and paragraph level discussion inside web-based books. She has consulted for a number of publishing entities, including Flat World Knowledge (open-source textbooks), Bibliocommons (social features for libraries), Electric Literature (iPad reading systems), Broadcastr (location-based audio stories for web, android and iphone), and Audible.com. Prior to founding BookGlutton.com, Travis was a creative director at JLOOP.com. She has fourteen years of online experience, and has worked in web design, advertising, online training and education. Her client history includes: Cisco, Sprint, Playstation, Wells Fargo, Macys, Midway Games and Dodge. In addition, Travis has won a number of awards for her interactive art, and has been recognized by Drunken Boat, The Webby Awards, The Flash Forward Film Festival, and the Electronic Literature Organization. She has a Masters Degree in Interactive Multimedia.

Aaron Miller
Aaron Miller is co-founder and CTO of ReadSocial. Before founding ReadSocial, Aaron created BookGlutton.com, a social reading site that allows readers to upload EPUB books and read them on the web with virtual book groups (using chat and shared annotations). Beyond managing the architecture and development of BookGlutton’s online reading system, he also spearheaded the catalog system, e-commerce system, community features, annotation technology, widgets and APIs. Aaron has independently built a number of publishing technologies: code that allows users to alter the look-and- feel of iBooks, an HTML-EPUB conversion tool, a tool that lets users annotate Google ebooks with Facebook groups (allowing Google books to be read inside Facebook). He is currently involved in NISO’s work on a shared annotations standard. Aaron has fourteen years experience working on-line; professionally he’s worked on both the creative and technical sides of projects—working at times as a writer and designer and at others a developer in San Francisco, LA, and New York. His clients include NetGalley, Wells Fargo, Organic, Electric Literature, Agriculture.com and Driving Media. Aaron has a Master’s Degree in Interactive Multimedia and an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine.

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